NORTH BALTIMORE - Folks around here have named the brand new school's gymnasium 'The Jungle.'
But by any name, the facility has a hint of paradise to it when compared to the old site, one which might well have been tagged Oz. And in grave need of any kind of wizard at that.
Calvert's girls basketball team seemed to take a liking to the new and improved arena as the Senecas raced to a 62-44 Midland Athletic League win over the Tigers Friday night.
The win was Calvert's fourth in six games and the Senecas are off to a 2-0 MAL start while dropping North Baltimore to 3-4 and 1-1.
"There are not a lot of easy teams to face in the league and North Baltimore was another example," Calvert coach Tim Ritzler said. "They gave us some tough matchups."
The game figured to be a shootout as Calvert came in as the league's top scoring team while the Tigers rated third. The Senecas held up their part, but more important, they kept North Baltimore from keeping pace.
The challenge was on until midway through the second quarter. Kate Brickner scored eight first-quarter points to help the Senecas twice build seven-point leads before settling for a 17-12 edge.
But freshman Olivia Frost hit a 3-pointer and then Megan Wright added seven straight points, including a three-point play, for a 22-21 Tiger lead with 3:52 left in the half.
Brickner then put Calvert back on top for good with a left-lane drive for two and followed with a slick pass to Nicole Bickley, who scored on a strong post move.
Margaret Bowers added a pair of baskets in what became a 10-0 finish to the half for a 31-22 Calvert advantage.
"I think a lot of that started with our defense," Ritzler said. "We really got after it right there, caused some turnovers and it seemed to get our confidence up at the other end."
The Senecas then opened the third period with a 15-4 burst to put it away. While Brickner, who finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists, led the way early, Olivia Smith took charge in the second half.
Smith scored six of her 14 points in the quarter and had a pair off assists. Calvert led by as many as 20 in applying the finishing touch.
"I think Calvert is probably the best team we've played so far and we knew that could be the case coming in," North Baltimore coach Greg Frost said. "They've got a nice blend of size and speed, plus I think they have the premier player in the league in Olivia Smith."
Calvert was balanced in a number of ways. In addition to the two in double figures, the Senecas got eight points from Bickley, seven from Megan Funkhouser and six from Bowers.
Half of the Senecas' 22 baskets came with assists attached and Smith had eight rebounds to lead a group of five with at least five boards.
"We've been a very unselfish team and sometimes, it's been to a fault," Ritzler said. "We sometimes pass up open shots I'd like to see us take. But we're doing a great job of getting out, running the floor and finding the open person."
Wright and Frost topped North Baltimore scorers with 10 points each but the Tigers, who came into the game averaging 56.2 points per game, hit just 17 of 55 from the field.
"We took 15 3-pointers and that's a credit to Calvert's defense," Greg Frost said. "They went into a packed zone there in the second half and baited us into shooting the ball from over the top."
Ricci Emahiser, who had nine rebounds, and Morgan Schloemp each added six points for the Tigers.